Monday, April 6, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015 - Easter Sunday and Katie, Randy and Evie arrive

Happy Easter friends and family!

Katie (daughter), Randy (son-in-law) and Evie (6 month old granddaughter) arrived late last night. They had flown from the US to Bilbao then driven a rental car 6 hours to us. In spite of the late night and lack of sleep, we decided to attend church in St. Cyprien just down the road.
Eglise de St. Cyprien

Finding out WHEN to attend church was most difficult. Late Saturday afternoon, after not being able to find any information on the Internet about our church. They found a lady near the church who was unloading her groceries and Janis tried her best French, but the lady didn't understand her question. Nevertheless, she signaled them to follow her as she headed into the tiny streets, knocking first at the pizzeria door saying "anglais" meaning this person could speak English. No one answered. So, down the street they headed passing doors with "Non anglais" (not English speaking) and finally getting an "anglais" to open the door. But this lady didn't know when church was. But acting as intermediary, she was able to get the old lady to tell Dave and Janis that church was at 10:30. Mission accomplished.

With Evie in her Easter finest (made by Grandma), we all head off to church.
Evie in her Easter finery

Guess what?!! Sunday is market day in St. Cyprien, making parking next to impossible as the town square parking lot is filled with vendor stalls and the roads are narrowed to one lane by all those parking on the sides of the street for the market.

It turns out that 10:30 is when the bells ring to call everyone to church. So there's a half hour wait for the service to begin.

Lynn and Evie waited inside while the others wandered around a bit of St. Cyprien. With only a few congregants, the priest wandered down the aisle talking to each of us.  He asked me if Evie was a baby girl or boy (un petit-un or petite-une) and then shook our hands.

The 17th century organ filled the church with music but the service was conducted as though it were a typical Sunday mass. No flowers, no special music, so special decorations. The readings were the Easter story and the very short homily was an Easter message of the importance of Easter in our lives. The priest, though mic'd, was difficult to understand as the stone church was so echo-y, but I could understand phrases and sentences enough to get the spirit of the service.  Communion took FOREVER, even according to our resident Catholic expert, Randy. There were no altar boys/girls and the priest had to do everything.   And the church was full,  A few observations: almost no young families in church and most of the few children who were in church were with their grandparents. No fancy Easter clothes or bonnets although the weather was only in the 50s, so we were all (with the exception of Randy) wearing jackets in church.
Interior of Eglise de St Cyprien

Katie, Randy and Evie got out the stroller to check out the market and Janis, Dave and I got in the car to travel home, We put in our home destination and Sully the GPS sent us off in a direct route (at least in her mind. Never mind that we had to make a sharp right turn up a steep narrow lane wide enough for one car. Never mind that we had to slowly crawl through an opening only one inch wider than the car with stone buildings on either side. She then wanted us to bear left up the hill further where a telephone pole was planted on the left side of the one lane road. There was no way a car was going up that hill, a fact confirmed by the English woman who came running up her drive to tell us that further passage was impossible and we would have to back up (remember the narrow spot we had just come through?) and go back down the hill. We pushed the mirrors in and sucked in our breath. Dave did an excellent job of backing through the danger zone and the couple sitting on the wall behind it pulled in their legs at the last minute. We could back up onto a drive to turn to face down the hill. Lesson learned: don't always trust Sully - if it's a street in her map memory, she'll take it even if it's not driveable.

The day today is beautiful -clear blue sky, sun and temperature about 70. Janis made her family's traditional egg salad for lunch eaten with rustic bread from the bakery and a vegetable soup made with home made stock from the chicken backs and bones left from the coq au vin and vegetable tops from the veggie trimmings of other meals. Delicious and Janis and I congratulated ourselves on not wasting any food.

After lunch everyone but me hiked the neighborhood roads to Bezenac and back taking lovely spring pictures along the way. They even found a chateau along the way.
While they were gone, I made our first foray into the laundry room which is super well-appointed with a US-sized front load washer, a dryer, drying rack, ironing board and fancy iron. Jeri taught me well and I had no trouble getting the laundry washed. Much of the laundry was hung on the line and dried quickly in the afternoon sun.

Late afternoon saw us preparing our Easter dinner of roast leg of lamb, roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus. We managed to get the oven to temperature and keep it there and had aperos while waiting dinner.

What a beautiful day! What a great way to spend a meaningful Easter.
On the walk to Bezenac

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